Wii U systems crash. Nintendo blames online update.

A firmware update for the Nintendo Wii U takes longer to download than many users would have liked – and may even cause the Wii U console to 'brick.' 

A fan purchases one of the first Wii U systems in the world at the midnight launch event at Nintendo World in New York on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012.

The good news: On Sunday, Nintendo officially launched its long-awaited Nintendo Wii U console. The not-so-good news: A firmware update necessary for online play has taken some users hours to download, and in a few cases, has apparently "bricked" the machine – irrevocably breaking it, basically. 

According to a handful of tweets and message board posts (hat tip to Ars Technica), the problem occurs if the power or Internet signal cuts off while the 5 GB update is being installed. Among those affected was Ben Fritz, a tech writer for The Los Angeles Times

"Wii U has stopped functioning before I managed to play a single game. I tried to stop an interminable software update and now... nothing," Fritz tweeted yesterday. "On a related note, anybody in the market for a big black paperweight?" he joked later. 

It's worth noting that plenty of folks have criticized Fritz and others for attempting to stop the firmware update at all. As one of Fritz's followers wrote, "It's common sense to not interrupt an update. Surely you should know this." 

In an interview with the BBCChris Green, a technology analyst at Davies Murphy Group, struck much the same note. "I'm afraid it's a case of 'buyer beware' to those who try to cancel the update part way through – that would mess up any hardware," he said. 

Still, the long load times for the firmware update and the widespread bricking reports have cast a pall of sorts over the Wii U launch. Nintendo, for its part, has cautioned users to keep the Wii U running while the system is updating; it's not immediately clear what will happen to consumers who have seen their new device turn into a "big black paperweight," as Fritz put it. 

The Wii U has received generally good marks among critics, although some have cautioned holding fire before picking up a machine. 

"Wait until the 'launch window' closes at the end of March and the likes of Pikmin 3Lego City Undercover and a slew of interesting download-only games are available," one reviewer wrote. "With any new console you might be wisest to give it a year, especially if you want to be able to compare it to what Sony and Microsoft have coming next. And if they don't put screens in their controllers, know right now that Nintendo will have at least that excellent advantage over them." 

For more tech news, follow us on Twitter @venturenaut.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to Wii U systems crash. Nintendo blames online update.
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today